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Allan Square
By Shirley Murphy

Allan Square By Shirley Murphy

Format: Paperback, 229 pages, b & w photos
Pub Date: April 2009
ISBN 10: 1-897317-37-9
ISBN 13: 978-1-897317-37-2

Price: CDN$16.95

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Book Description
Allan Square is a dark yet humorous coming-of-age story about a young girl growing up during the 1940s and 1950s in one of the roughest neighbourhoods in St. John’s. Shirley Murphy was only seven years old when her father died and life as she knew it changed forever. Poor and often hungry, she lived with an alcoholic stepfather, a combative mother, and four brothers who treated her the way only brothers can. In Allan Square, Shirley vividly describes attending wakes at the homes of the deceased (for the food), trading kisses with ushers for admission to the Capitol Theatre, soaking up the sights and sounds of Water Street, and surviving a dysfunctional family in the St. John’s urban playground of Livingstone Street, Allan Square, Theatre Hill, and Queen’s Road.

From adventures in a school run by strict and unforgiving nuns, to heated battles with an angry mother, to nightly Acts of Contrition, this memoir is Shirley Murphy’s laugh-out-loud tale of childhood antics and misspent youth in Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital city.

Review Quotes
"[Allan Square] is a dark but very funny account of growing up in the 1940s and 1950s in what was then a rough neighbourhood." - The Telegram

About the Author
Shirley Murphy had always thought she was born on Allan Square. During the writing of this memoir, at the age of seventy-one, she finally discovered she was actually born December 23, 1936, on Livingstone Street. Her family moved to Allan Square when she was a year old.

She moved out of the neighbourhood when she married at the age of twenty-three. Her three sons, Tim, Mark and Kent, were born in 1960, 1961, and 1962. Shirley’s brother Jack promptly dubbed her “Pregnancia.” In 1965 her young family moved to Ontario. Shirley’s only daughter, Andrea, was born there in 1967.

Shirley was a stay-at-home wife and mother. Drawing inspiration from the antics of her four children and their friends, she wrote weekly columns for various newspapers, including, among others, the original Toronto Sunday Sun.

“Forced put being no man’s choice,” she went back to school at the age of forty-three to prepare herself for re-entering the workforce.

Shirley Murphy lives in Bowmanville, Ontario, with her second husband, Ron. Between them they have nine children.


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